Tag Archives: encouragement

Sunday Stillness – How to live like Sons and Daughters of God

Sunday Stillness – How to live like Sons and Daughters of God

Tantrum 2013 small

Artwork by Janis Cox

 

This week I look at Titus 1:5 using the SIMPLE Method of Bible Study. I am also trying to memorize as I go. I have memorized this far. So far – so good.

S – Say the passage aloud.

The reason I left you in Crete was that you might straighten out what was left unfinished and appoint elders in every town as I directed you (Titus 1:5, NIV).

I – Identify the characters, the setting, and the circumstances surrounding this passage.

Paul had to leave Crete (we are not told why). He left Titus in charge. That was a big undertaking. Paul trusted Titus and found him dependable. The two of them must have started to spread the Gospel but had not begun to build churches so the first step would be to appoint elders.

M- Make a list of the thoughts, questions and ideas.

What is an elder? How were they appointed? Did they all come from one church? Where was that? How did they start a new church? What needed “straightening out”? What was left unfinished?

From Ed’s research I found out that during the time of Pentecost many Cretans were present and were filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:11). Those people had gone back to Crete as spirit-filled believers, filled with hope. But trying to “fix” the pirates needed some straightening out. This takes time.

Building a church is no easy task and cannot be competed in a moment. (Paul) was naturally exceptionally talented, he never grew tired in all his work, and yet he confesses that he left the work half done…. it takes more than just a year or two to restore a fallen church (John Calvin from Restoring Health by Ed Hird, page 34).

The Cretans had met Paul – he had begun the ministry but it was up to Titus to build strong healthy leaders from the ex-pirates.

P – Pray again for God’s guidance.

L- Life – How can I apply what I have been studying to my life?

Many of us come from backgrounds we may not be proud of or actions we wish we had not done, words we wished we had not said. But we must remember that our “pirate pasts” were left on the cross. God uses each of our pasts for His glory and to spread His Word.

We are on a level playing field in God’s eyes.

 Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you (Romans 12:3, NIV).

That’s why we need to band together and encourage one another.

We are Sons and Daughters of a mighty God – Let’s live like that.

Personally, I love the words in my Bible that said – straighten out. Other NIVs said – put in order.

But really God needed to straighten me out.

For someone who used to lose her temper all the time when I didn’t get my way – I have changed. I still have control issues but they are much less than before.

My daughter gently asks her 2 year old when he find things not going as planned – “Is it a big deal or a little deal?” This seems to stop him in his tracks to consider his options.

We need to ask that question when we feel anger, worry or fear. If it’s a little deal – let is go. And if it is a “big deal” then we need to find out how to react in Christ.

God loves to be in all the details, big or little. But if we can remember to act in TRUST and HOPE at all times – big deals can become smaller ones, because God can works through all deals.

I love the quote: God is not finished with me yet. (Philippians 1:6)

So when we are in a temper state, a confused state, an uncontrollable state – STOP – reconnect with our Saviour. Let Him bring the peace and grace needed to work out a situation.

E – Exit the passage with a prayer for God to help you.

Lord, you took me from Titus and straightening out ex-pirates to straightening me out. Once again your Word has a life application. Thank you for reminding me that I am a work in progress. Continue to teach me and remind me to live in grace and truth every minute of the day. Open doors of knowledge – WIDE – from Your Word to excite, encourage and strengthen all believers. In Jesus’ name. AMEN.
Tweetables:

JanisCox-photo2web

Janis is the author of the award winning children’s book, Tadeo Turtle, published by Word Alive Press. Available in Kindle Format, in bookstores, online and from her website. Curriculum available upon request.

You can find her on Facebook, and Twitter. Tadeo has his own Facebook Page.

Tadeo-Turtle-Cover-large-web

 

 

 

I sometimes link to:

RECOMMENDATION SATURDAY @ RENEWEDDAILY.COM
STILL SATURDAYS @SANDRAHESKAKING

PLAYDATES @LAURABOGGESS

THE WEEKEND BREW @BARBIESWIHART

TITUS TUESDAYS @CORNERSTONE CONFESSIONS

 

Today is Sunday Stillness – Join us – spread His Word through your words.

Thank you to all bloggers who are joining me in Sunday Stillness.



Sunday Stillness – How to encourage each other

Sunday Stillness – How to encourage each other

scene-how-to-encourage

Batik Watercolour by Janis Cox

Today’s thoughts are based on Titus 1:4, using my SIMPLE method of Bible study. I find it amazing how even this short, easy passage can bring so much to light. Always start my studying by praying for guidance.

S – Say the passage aloud.

To Titus, my true son in our common faith: grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus, our Saviour (Titus 1:4, NIV).

I – Identify the characters, the setting, and the circumstances surrounding this passage.

Once again Paul is talking to Titus who is left on Crete to fulfill God’s calling. This is a simple but profound greeting that Paul makes in all his letters. He calls Titus, “my true son”. Titus was a gentile convert and that makes this all the more amazing.

M- Make a list of the thoughts, questions and ideas.

I kept thinking about Christian believers – and why there is so much dissension if we all believe in Jesus as our Saviour. Why are there put downs of other Christians? Why put downs of government leaders – we are called to pray for them.

God gives us rules to follow – gives US rules to follow – not THEM. It is for our benefit to follow them. We need to be together in this fight against Satan. Even those in the world are not our enemies – Satan is.

Paul calls Titus my “true son”. True means sincere – where are the sincere Christians? We need to pray for Christian writers, for Christian churches and for Christian charities that they remain sincere in their faith and lives. We need God’s power in this world to overcome Satan.

Paul, by this greeting, tells Titus that he is important enough to deserve a letter. He took time to write to Titus.

An interesting historical aside: Ed tells us in his book that the Cretans are the direct ancestors of the biblical Philistines.

P – Pray again for God’s guidance.

L- Life – How can I apply what I have been studying to my life?

Paul took time for what was important to God – to encourage Titus in his ministry on Crete.

Encouragers: Writers for God are encouragers. We take time to write our thoughts, to communicate with one another and to the world.

There is no such thing as a genuine Christian faith that we make up on our own (Ed Hird, Restoring Health, page 31).

At the very heart of being healthy, of being sound is the gift of GRACE and PEACE ( ibid, my emphasis).

E – Exit the passage with a prayer for God to help you.

Lord, help us as followers of Jesus to encourage one another, to build up and not put down, to strengthen writers, pastors and leaders; to look to You at all times, good or bad. We know You are more than able. We and thank You for bringing us together. In Jesus’ name. AMEN

Tweetables:

Janis Cox

JanisCox-photo2web

Janis is the author of the award winning children’s book, Tadeo Turtle, published by Word Alive Press. Available in Kindle Format, in bookstores, online and from her website. Curriculum available upon request.

You can find her on Facebook, and Twitter. Tadeo has his own Facebook Page.

Tadeo-Turtle-Cover-large-web

 

 

 

 

I sometimes link to:

RECOMMENDATION SATURDAY @ RENEWEDDAILY.COM
STILL SATURDAYS @SANDRAHESKAKING

Playdates @lauraboggess

The Weekend Brew @BarbieSwihart

Titus Tuesdays @Cornerstone Confessions

 

Today is Sunday Stillness – Join us – spread His Word through your words.
Thank you to all bloggers who are joining me in Sunday Stillness.

 

 



Five Minute Friday – Encouragement

Five Minute Friday – Encouragement

encouragement

 

Life is full. I haven’t done a Five-Minute Friday very often. But I really want to get back into doing this.

It only takes 5 minutes (except for the posting, filling in tags, categories, and finding a picture) so here goes.

I am joining Lisa Jo Baker and her Five-Minute Fridays. Calling all writers – join me.

Today’s word is Encouragement.

My post today on Under the Cover of Prayer is called “Do I matter to God?”. Janet Sketchley wrote a comment which is in itself is always an encouragement.

Today she wrote:

We need that unshakable assurance that we all, as individuals and as a group, matter to God.

That’s one of the reasons I write – to provide that encouragement to others. That’s how we grow in our faith – little by little.

God writes about encouragement all through His Word. His promises are many.

God says:

 I’ll be with you. I won’t give up on you; I won’t leave you (Joshua 1:5, The Message). (click to tweet)

This week I have downloaded a “daily plan” from Ann Voskamp. One of the sections says: relationship. Here is the plan from her wonderful post called A Grace Plan.

In the spot called RELATIONSHIP, I put which relationship I want to grow today. Someone I will reach out to.

And then there is the Holy Spirit nudge of encouragement. I see a woman once in a while on the bench as I drive back home in my golf cart after tap dance. I smile. But today I said, What a beautiful day! And I love your smile.” She smiled back even bigger. Small thing but big results.

What are you going to do today to encourage someone? (click to tweet)

Five minutes are up (with a break to help my hubby lay flooring). Your turn to read other posts or write your own.

To find other Five Minute Friday posts – click on Five Minute Fridays.

Don’t forget to write comments – they are an encouragement. Check out number 3 in Lisa Jo’s rules. She knows that’s one things that keeps us writing. ENCOURAGEMENT

Five-Minute Fridays

Five-Minute Fridays

Want to join Lisa Jo. Here are the rules:

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community.

 

 

Are You Careful What You Pray for?

Today we have the privilege to read the post of a blogger called Megan Tietz who writes a blog called Sorta Crunchy. In this post she is 25 weeks pregnant with twins.

Please continue to read the rest of her post at her blog.

Are You Careful What You Pray for?

by Megan Tietz

twins

Lately, I’ve been thinking about something that happened when I was a kid.

When I was in fourth grade, we lived in a house that had a little creek that ran behind it. My parents knew it was in a flood plain, but we were just renting and I guess they decided it was worth the gamble. After a long day of relentless rain, that creek started to rise and rise.

I remember praying that day, praying that it would flood.

And flood it did. We had to move all of our water-logged belongings into a much smaller, cramped rent house, and as you can imagine, there were months of headaches and stress in dealing with insurance and losses.

I don’t know why I prayed that it would flood. Maybe so we would be out of school for a few days? Because it sounded romantic and exciting? Because I was a little kid and I just had no idea?

Years later, I sheepishly told my parents that I knew the reason we went through that flood; confessed to them that it was all my fault. My parents were incredulous that for years, I had carried the guilt of believing that my child-like faith and prayer had caused an entire neighborhood to flood. It was a strangely formative moment in my spiritual history though. Of course, as an adult I view the whole scenario differently, but even still, there is this tiny voice within that whispers:

“be careful what you pray for – it just might come true.” (tweet this)

It is from this frame of reference that I find myself most days this close to whispering “God, please let me be put on bedrest.”

Which is the craziest thing, I know. And I know that those of you who have actually been on serious bedrest would like to smack me right in the face for that. I know that bedrest is no joke – that it disrupts family life and marriage and community and that it’s frustrating and boring and no fun. I know it would be no stretch for you to see me as an impulsive child who has no idea what she is praying for. I know, I know, I know.

Every week, I feel the physical toll more and more. Though I wake up in the morning feeling fantastic and ready to take on the world, by the end of the day, I am completely toast. Achy joints and searing back pain have me reduced to shuffling around the house, and then I crawl into bed where I cannot get comfortable for the life of me and it takes monumental effort just to roll from one side to the other.

And so, yes. Part of me wants a doctor to get firm with me and say, “You really should be in bed most of the time, you know.” Because without a firm order to do so, I just cannot do it.

I feel like if I can still walk the girls to and from school, I should.

If I can still do basic housekeeping, I should.

If I can still haul laundry up and down the stairs, I should. Because surely if I shouldn’t be doing those things, it would be my body and not a doctor that would tell me. Right?

Continue to read the rest of Megan’s post at Sorta Crunchy.

I’M HERE – WHERE ARE YOU?

I’m Here – Where are You?

by Patricia Day (reprinted with permission)

QUESTION

John 14:1-3 “Don’t be troubled. You trust God, now trust in me. There are many rooms in my Father’s home, and I am going to prepare a place for you. If this were not so, I would tell you plainly. When everything is ready, I will come and get you. And you know where I am going and how to get there”. (NLT)

We are a one car family and so when I need the use of our car, I have to get my body out of bed early enough to travel with my husband, into town and deposit him at his workplace. At the end of the day, I reverse that order and journey to bring him back home again so he can relax and enjoy the comforts of home. Hopefully, it welcomes him with a modicum of order after I have done necessary housekeeping through the day, thus making it a place for each of us to enjoy come evening.

I tend to be very punctual and so, when my husband is not at the appointed place at the agreed time, I begin to display my ‘antsy’ disposition.

“Ok, I’m here, where are you?” or “Come on, Mister, I’ve worked hard at home cleaning and preparing supper and I’m tired too, I need to get home” or “I’m here, come and find me then I can take you home”.

I agree – it is sadly not the best attitude and certainly not a godly one.

continue to read Patricia’s post at I am Here – Where are You?

Patricia Day

Patricia Day

Writing has always been a passion of Patricia. She can express myself better in writing, than verbally.  She enjoys creating short stories and devotionals. Her favourite past-times: family-time; gardening; reading; walking and listening to good music. Married.  Mother of two sons; step-Mom to a son & daughter and Nana to ten.

Look for her devotionals at Pepe Prays and her blog at Patters Matters.

Patricia has recently completed her first novel – Eleanor, A Stolen Childhood – which is in the process of publication.  Her second novel, Priscilla – Hidden in the Shadows is now being written.

WEDNESDAY’S WORD – Shepherd

Wednesday’s Word – Shepherd

Sheep

Thanks to www.sanghafarm.com

I had many Words from God this week. It became hard to decide what to write on today. Then on Sunday, our first Sunday back in our hometown, our minister preached on two of my life changing Scriptures:

1. John 21:15-19, NLT:

In a conference many years ago this Scripture became my life’s focus.

“Feed my sheep.”

We each had a slip of paper left on our chairs while we were at break. I read my Scripture when I returned to my seat. It was as though God spoke to me that day – clearly. He didn’t have to say it three times. Once was enough.

2. 1 Peter 5:7, NIV:

“Cast all your anxiety on him because He cares for you.”

This has become the name of my blog. I know that God cares for us. I have seen it in His promises, in His gifts, in the wonder of this world, in my family, my friends, the God-incidents each day.

Our minister compared our caring for each other like the saying: “It takes a village to raise a child”.

But he said:

“It takes a flock of sheep to raise a lamb.” (Tweet this)

Really this makes a lot of sense. We are God’s sheep and we need to care for one another and the little lambs among us. Sometimes I feel like a lamb; sometimes like a sheep; and sometimes like a shepherd.

How can we show love to one another? Our minister reminded me of Gary Chapman’s Five Love Languages and how we can use these languages to reach everyone.

Words – I write every Wednesday about the Words of God. And I wrote at Family and Faith Matters about how words can affect our lives.

Quality time – I spend quality time with God every day. What I receive from Him I am able to pass on to others.

Gifts – Giving of our time and our money blesses us as much as others.

Service – I like to do many things to be of help to others.

Touch – Oh did I love those hugs I received this weekend on my return to my home church.

Let’s shepherd one another. Join the Wednesday’s Word Community.

Each Wednesday we hold a Wednesday’s Word Community. Please check the rules of Wednesday’s Word  if you are here for the first time. Feel free to add your link below about God’s Word. And I love comments.

Let us shepherd one another. (Tweet this)

 



1 WAY GOD HEARS FROM US

 Leave Your Calling Card – A Guest Post

by Brenda Leyland  (reprinted with permission)

A SHORT TIME ago a fellow blogging friend emailed to tell me that I was the answer to a prayer she’d prayed that very morning!

Interesting thing about it all, I thought I was just ‘minding my own business’. I had no idea that I’d stumbled into the stream of someone’s earnest desire and request to God. All I was aware was that, in the culture and manner of Blogland, I’d come across her link in someone else’s comment box, and thought, Mmmm, I haven’t been to see Sulo in such a long time, a visit is long overdue.  

So I popped over there… to see what she’s been sharing and find out what she’s been up to. Knowing from my own experience just how important it is to find a ‘calling card’ in one’s comment box, I took the time to read more closely so I could share a comment or two on the ones that particularly spoke to me.

Lo and behold, within a short time, I found an e-mail reply back from my friend saying that I couldn’t have any idea what my comments meant to her that day. For that very morning, as she got up from bed, she asked the Lord to have someone leave a comment so that she could know for sure somebody out there was reading her postings.

And, when she clicked on her computer there in her inbox was an email indicating that someone had, indeed, been to visit and left comments. As Sulo put it:

 “What did I see… your e-mail with the comments — an answer to my prayer as a confirmation. What more proof do we need to believe God hears our prayers? Aren’t we so blessed to have such an awesome God who cares about even minute things like page-viewing!”

I’m humbled… and so honoured to have been a part of the Lord’s answer to Sulo’s heart cry. To have heeded the little nudge that I could so easily have postponed or ignored, in my view that is a glimpse of heaven in a most unexpected place…for me and for her…maybe for you too!